The mountain yellow-legged frog is an endangered species, so closing 1,000 acres of a 655,000 acre park to protect what could be the last 18 of the frogs in the area shouldn’t be a big deal, right?
Well, those 1,000 acres include what was once a popular rock climbing area, Williamson Rock, and it’s been closed since 2005. The Forest service now says it’ll be closed at least another year. Climbers say they’ve been patient, but want the rock back.
“[The frog is] really on the brink,” said Lisa Northrop, planning officer for the Angeles National Forest. “Almost any activity, swimming, rock climbing, use of the trail, has the potential to impact the frog.”
But climbers seem to think the rock belongs to them, not the animals who have lived there long before humans set sight on the rock.
“Our objective is to have the resource available to climbers while at the same time protecting the habitat of the frog, which is an endangered species,” said Troy Mayr, who formed a group called Friends of Williamson Rock after it originally closed in 2005. “Climbers are working in conjunction with the forest service and trying to come up with a way to keep the species protected and allow climbing access.”
Mayr, however, has not come up with any solution to prevent climbers from hurting the frogs. To their credit, they do advocate that climbers do not go against the closure to access the rock.
But really — can’t you just climb a different rock and let these frogs reproduce and get their feet back on the ground? I understand that this rock is supposed to be particularly beautiful, but forming a group to complain about an action taken to protect an endangered species (complete with a donations page) seems scummy beyond belief.
Photo Credit: feverblue on Flickr under Creative Commons license.